Rent arrears, for both landlord and tenant, can be distressing. The tenant may be in a position where they cannot pay the rent. This will have a knock on effect on the landlord especially the mortgage.
Getting into rent arrears can be distressing but tenants should not ignore the situation. If the tenant does not make arrangements to pay the outstanding rent, then the landlord can take them to Court to recover the outstanding rent and to regain possession of the property.
The first thing a tenant should do is contact the landlord and negotiate whether the outstanding rent can be paid over a period of time. If the tenant makes some form of reasonable repayment, the landlord may have difficulty recovering the outstanding rent and regaining possession through the Court.
The landlord could suggest that the tenant pays back the extra on top of the rent each month. A landlord may well agree to this, compared to the alternative to evicting the tenant, because it is in their best interest to recover the money owed.
If the tenant’s rent arrears are still increasing and there has been no effort made to repay the outstanding rent, the landlord should begin proceedings in the Court to recover the outstanding rent and regain possession of the property. There is a procedure that the landlord must follow which involves getting permission from the Court and the landlord cannot evict a tenant without obtaining a Court order.
Before starting any procedure, the landlord should ensure that the tenant is informed in writing of the rent arrears (copies should be kept). Ideally this should be done on a fortnightly basis so the tenant cannot argue that they were not kept informed of the rent.
If the rent remains outstanding the landlord must take is sending the tenant a ‘warning’ known as a notice. This should set out why the landlord is taking the tenant to Court and the amount of days the tenant has to rectify the situation.
If the tenant does not respond to the landlord, or makes no effort to sort a repayment plan, the landlord will then apply to the Court for a possession order. If the reason for going to Court is rent arrears, then it is likely that a Judge will request a hearing to deal with the matters.
If appropriate, the Judge will provide the landlord with a possession order and a money judgment for the outstanding rent.
The Judge may decide that the tenant can remain in the property so long as the agreed repayment plan is kept to but as soon as it is breached the landlord can again request possession of the property.
Specialist Landlord Services
My name is Carol O’ Leary. I am a lawyer who specialises in legal services for landlords. We aim to provide our clients with an outstanding legal service.
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